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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Hoboken Monkey Man

August 14, 2008

There was a time when a creature, half monkey, half man, stalked the halls of Hoboken's schools and held the student body in terror. Maybe he was a man with the head of a monkey; maybe he was just a guy wearing a monkey mask. It was said that he abducted children, threw them out the school windows, and even murdered a teacher.

The Hoboken police department took the story seriously enough to establish a task force to find and apprehend the perpetrator. It came to naught. Slezak put me on the story a few months ago when he wrote "lots of people claim to have seen him...but never caught him. (HE'S OUR BIG FOOT.)"

It has been said that he could be seen late at night, roaming the streets, spotted by barflies and inebriated little old ladies. Such tales exist wherever bars exist, so I tend to discount them, but there is something interesting in this one.

Since learning of him, I've been having a little trouble placing the monkey man in time. Slezak was in high school in the 1950s; the Internet says he roamed the streets in the '80s, and whatever it was seems to be dead and gone.

My readers are well informed of the legends and the reality of growing up in Hoboken in decades past. If anyone has a monkey man story, let it be known here -- or, if I get no comments, let us lay the story to rest once and for all.

15 comments:

Jim B said...

Never heard this one before.

italnconnie said...

I never heard about this "man". I was in elementary school in the 40's and never heard of him then either.

Mary Lois said...

I guess the sources are correct that say this incident, if that's what it was, occured in the early 80s.

Anonymous said...

This "Hoboken Monkey Man" someone was smoking some weird stuff! Just kidding here. Never heard of a "Monkey Man," nor of a "Monkey Woman!" Gotta give the fair sex a equal opportunity here also. Must have been something born after someone used some kind of stuff.
Can't have a "Monkey Man" anyhow because bananas don't grow in Hoboken.

Mary Lois said...

My old-Hoboken readers, even our friend "Anonymous," have convinced me that this is a myth that never even happened. Slezak mentioned it to me months ago, I read a little about it on the Internet and put it aside until I was looking for an angle for the blog.

One of the Internet references said that the monkey man story itself was a hoax -- there had never even been a story about a monkey man. A hoax of a hoax, it said. I'll buy that until somebody somewhere who comments here that he or she remembers the town gripped in fear of a prowling man who happened to have the head of a monkey.

Let's not go bananas over this.

Jack D. said...

I was born and raised in Hoboken and I can unequivically tell you that there is, or at least was, something to the Hoboken Monkeyman myth.
It was October of about 1981. My girlfriend and I were in my car on River Road, (what is now called Sinatra Drive), when something moving in the trees caught my eye. I looked up through the windshield and there it was. A monkey-like creature, dangling from a tree, grunting at us. It's hair was long and matted and it wore animal skins. It really appeared to be a neanderthal man. I was shocked. I jumped from my car and yelled something threatening. The damn thing grunted at me, jumped from the tree and moved off into the woods. That was the only time I ever saw or heard of the Monkeyman.

Jack D.

Mary Lois said...

The other side is heard from! Just when I had come to believe there was nothing to the story, Jack joins us with an eyewitness account!

Maybe this was some scary old homeless dude, or a drugged-out hippie left over from the 60s, or a monkey that made its way to Hoboken from some distant New Jersey circus. But Jack saw something, and he doesn't claim it abducted him and took him to a space ship to perform scientific experiments.

I don't think we've heard the last of this.

Mary Lois said...

Oh, and Jack, what were you and your girlfriend doing in a parked car on River Road in 1981? Were there alcohol or controlled substances involved?

slezak said...

Seeing is believing...Jack D. seen im, that's proof enough for me. Altho where he saw him is in question.? The woods on River Road adjoins STEVENS CAMPUS, the same place I saw the half buried statues from the old HAUNTED CASTLE. STEVENS that had a secret passageway to SIBYLS CAVE. As a boy I had been in both places...spooky places back in the 50s, I must say.

Parking on River Road with a girl, just enjoying the view of Manhattan (Yah right) was not a good idea. That's where the cops slept.

Under the viaduct was not a good idea either...parking by the old 7 up factory was the best place to park in them days. (not to get off the subject)

The monkey man (I THINK) lived in a Stevens campus dorm, a fraternity prank gone wrong...OR WAS IT??? You decide

Anonymous said...

The Monkey Boy never had anything to do with the school. It was seen on River road buy a guy in his car with his girlfriend and it was more of a peeping Tom who was acting and looking like a monkey because he was all dirty from hanging out on the Stevens hills. Oh and he saw what you were doing with your girlfriend Jack!

Anonymous said...

born and raised in Hoboken in the 50's never heard of the monkey man

Mary Lois said...

Apparently he didn't appear until 1981.

Unknown said...

I was in Wallace elementary in 1982 and I remember the monkey man story as if it were yesterday... they never caught anyone to fit the description but I do remember the police at our school and some of the kids were really scared

Gil Corzo said...

I was in Wallace elementary in 1982 and I remember the monkey man story as if it were yesterday... they never caught anyone to fit the description but I do remember the police at our school and some of the kids were really scared

Gil Corzo said...

I was in Wallace elementary in 1982 and I remember the monkey man story as if it were yesterday... they never caught anyone to fit the description but I do remember the police at our school and some of the kids were really scared